Category Archives: Radio gear

Amateur radio: ongoing antenna improvements

My limited space for transmitting antennas that I can leave up for any useful length of time makes it hard to put up any sort of “normal” antenna on HF, but it also forces me to be a little creative with antennas, which is not a bad thing. Continue reading

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Amateur radio: CQ WW SSB contest prep, late October 2017

Phew! Since I’m at the end of my first 12 months on the air, I decided to put in as full of an effort as I could in the CQ Worldwide SSB contest. Given the limitations of my station, the results-to-effort ratio was rather small, but conditions played a role in that, as well as the huge pileups due to so many people on the air. This post talks about the station upgrades I made before the contest, while the next one will be about the contest itself. Continue reading

Video blog episode 011

I finally finished off the 6-meter Yagi project and got it on the air. I’ve actually been using it for a while, but needed the ARRL VHF contest to get enough activity on the band to shoot video in a reasonable amount of time showing me making QSOs. I was running 50 watts into the 4-element Yagi and worked sporadic-E clouds to 30 different Maidenhead grids, including two in New Hampshire, which were my first double-hop sporadic-E QSOs. Enjoy!

Video blog episode 005

Now that I’ve been working on ham radio antennas, I have a couple of projects for the video blog. The first one is a 6-meter 4-element Yagi. It is designed to be semi-portable, and for me this is particularly important because it’s not practical for me to leave up an antenna for any significant length of time. Perhaps impudently, I am posting this introduction and design video before I actually have the antenna on the air! However, I have tested the antenna itself (sans 1:1 balun) with a VNA and it seems to behave more or less as expected.
I spend a lot of time talking about various design parameters and the actual modeling procedure, so this may seem a little dry if you’ve done this before. But, I try to keep my speech pace relatively slow on these videos, so there’s always the 1.25x and 1.5x speed options on YouTube.  Part II will detail the construction process, and Part III will show testing and hopefully actual on-air performance.

Video blog episode 002

Episode 2 of my video blog has been posted to YouTube. This is the second video in the Superloop antenna series, and shows the construction of a decade resistance box to use as the terminating resistance of the antenna. The box allows you to repeatably set the resistance to the value you want, as opposed to trying to make fiddly adjustments of a potentiometer. This part of the project went well, other than it having a 2 ohm offset due to resistance in the thumbwheel switches, wires, and banana plug connectors. Enjoy!

Video blog debut!

Finally! My first Arizona Signal Watcher video blog episode is now available on YouTube. This is the first of a several-part series on the “Superloop” receiving antenna. This design was developed by Bruce Conti and this is my take on the design and construction. The antenna is very useful and convenient when needing a signal null in one direction and good reception in other directions, and when portability is important. The first video is entitled “Superloop Antenna Part I: Introduction” and gives an overview of the antenna design and some theory behind it. Subsequent videos will detail the construction of the antenna and the electrical/electronic components needed to optimize the antenna performance. Comments here or on the YouTube page are very much welcomed. Enjoy!